Six Hot Topics from Mike Mularkey's Press Conference

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Mike Mularkey met with reporters on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team's 28-26 victory over the Cleveland Browns:

Here's a look at six hot topics:

**

Mariota critique**

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota turned in another solid performance against the Browns, throwing for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 64 yards, including a 41-yard burst on the team's first offensive play.

Mariota now has produced seven touchdowns (6 passing, 1 rushing) in the past two weeks.

Mularkey said Mariota had a nice touch on the deep balls to receivers Kendall Wright (48 yards) and Rishard Matthews (43 yards), and said both balls could've been caught in stride if not for the two of them slowing down.

"(Marcus) threw those two passes the same place he threw them in practice,'' Mularkey said. "Kendall's was a great play, a great play. But if he would've ran a little bit faster without turning his shoulders back, he probably would've ran right underneath that throw. It was a great throw.

"Rishard came out of the top end of the route and he slowed up just a little bit to where he had to burst again to make a phenomenal catch. The throws were there, and the possibility of catching it on the run was also there."

But Mularkey said Mariota still needs to rid himself from the across-the-body throws like the one he made on Sunday, when he was intercepted.

"He has hit some, and that's the problem,'' Mularkey said of Mariota. "… But the risk is not worth the reward, because you have seen what has happened. Just throw it away and live for another down, and that is what he has been instructed to do.

"Any quarterback in the league, it is typically not a good decision to throw it back across the body, across the field. Odds are not good in your favor."

**

Lewan and Conklin**

According to Pro Football Focus, Titans tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin haven't allowed a sack, or a quarterback hit, all season.

Mularkey was asked about that stat on Monday.

"That would seem accurate to me,'' Mularkey said with a smile, after first knocking on the wooden podium in front of him. "I'd like to keep that going, if we can."

Mularkey then praised both players.

"(Taylor) has been very consistent in everything, run blocking and pass blocking,'' Mularkey said. "I think he has been outstanding for us … and he is doing it with a lot of finish and aggressiveness. He is doing exactly what we want."

Conklin, the team's first-round pick, has also been steady.

"He has been that way since the day he (got) here,'' Mularkey said. "He was put in the (starting) position with an injury to (Byron) Bell early and nothing has been different from the day he stepped in that position."

**

"A clean hit"**

Fans of the Browns are all over Titans running back Antonio Andrews for his block on Browns safety Jordan Poyer.

Mularkey defended Andrews on Monday.

Poyer, who was on punt coverage against the Titans, was blasted by Andrews. The Titans were penalized 15 yards for a blindside hit, which resulted in Poyer being taken to the hospital. Poyer suffered a lacerated kidney, according to Cleveland.com.

"I feel it was a clean hit,'' Mularkey said. "It's what is being taught, shoulder to shoulder. (There was) nothing dirty. … We don't want to injure anybody obviously, that is not the intent.

"It was a clean block. He was going to make the tackle and we're going to block him. (Officials) are going to err on the side of caution and I agree with that."

**

Wright impact**

Wright caught eight passes for 133 yards and a touchdown against the Browns despite playing just 22 snaps in the contest.

Wright provided the biggest highlight of the day on his diving catch from Mariota.

Mularkey said he thinks Wright's is capable of sustaining success moving forward.

"I certainly hope that's the case,'' Mularkey said. "That certainly should give him a lot of confidence going into those games, (and) us game planning as well, getting him more involved."

He also believes Wright's presence in the offense should help those around him.

Mularkey said rookie receiver Tajae Sharpe continues to develop and "he's still in the plan" despite being held without a catch against the Browns. But he indicated the team would like to see more consistency from Sharpe.

**

Colts-Texans**

Six weeks into the season, the Texans lead the AFC South with a 4-2 record, and the Titans (3-3) are right behind them.

The Jaguars (2-3) are next in line, followed by the Colts (2-4), who will face the Titans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday.

The Texans rallied to beat the Colts in overtime on Sunday night. If the Colts would've held on, there would've been a three-way tie for first place in the division right now.

"I watched the end of it,'' Mularkey said of the Texans-Colts game. "That's the NFL, and it's never over. It's never over in this league. The standings are really out of our control, (along with) what else goes on around the league other than what we have to do on Sunday."

Injuries

Mularkey said the Titans didn't suffer any significant injuries in Sunday's game.

Tight end Anthony Fasano could be limited in practice Wednesday with an ankle injury, but otherwise the team came out of the game healthy.

Cornerback Cody Riggs (hamstring) and defensive lineman Al Woods (calf) should be able to return to action on Sunday against the Colts.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 action at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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